What You Should Know About No

One of my favorite books is No: The Only Negotiating System You Need for Work and Home by Jim Camp. The basic premise of this book is that nobody has to say yes to anything you offer them. Every person has the right to say no and the more you can let them know this, the less defensive they become when you offer something, and the more likely they are to say yes.

I was taught that the only reason a person says no is because there is not enough value in your proposition for them to say yes. Value is a relative term, meaning that one person may see sufficient value in a certain offer while another person does not see any value in the same offer. The challenge is that many people will not even open up to hear an offer that could be valuable to them if they feel they are being pressured into making a decision.

Dr. Judith Sills describes the word no as a person’s proverbial line in the sand. It is a clear distinction of where the self ends and begins. It is by this word that people define who they are and how they will behave. No can be an empowering word for the person using it because it eliminates all of the things that do not fit into his or her ideal.

In sales, many salespeople do everything in their power to take the basic right of saying no from the client. Salespeople will use gimmicks, apply pressure, drop the price, and play games, all in an effort to get the client to concede. I disagree with this approach because while the salesperson may get a sale, it will be temporary, the clients will likely have remorse, and the client sure as hell is not going to tell his or her friends to go to that salesperson. What would the client say, “Hey friend, I just had the S%#@ beat out of me at this dealership. It was awesome! You should go there; you will love it.”? Sorry, I do not see that happening.

I never attempt to take away a client’s right to say no to my product. I want them to know that I am well aware that they have the right to say no. When I offer a product or talk about adding warranty, I always let them know by saying, “Everything we offer is optional and you do not have to do it, but I would recommend it.” This simple phrase takes down their guard and opens them up to hear the possibilities. By knowing they can say no, they are more open to saying yes, and they do. It is because of this simple acknowledgement that I hold the company record for warranty sells, it is because of this phrase that I am among the top 5 performers every month, and it is because of this phrase that I am the highest positively reviewed salesperson in my brand in the state of Utah and that my clients rave about me online and to their friends.

There is power in the word no. It is not a word to fear, but a word to be nourished. We should encourage our customers to say no, if, after we have done all that we can do, the deal does not fit their needs. I learned from Rich Litvin (one of my mentor’s) to get a Hell Yes or a Hell No from my clients because anything in-between was a no anyway. I would much rather have a strong no than a maybe in any form. Let your client’s know that you are okay of they say no to you; that it won’t hurt your feelings, and watch them open up to what you are offering. If I could tell you one section of my book that would help you the most in all areas of your life, this would be the chapter. Get good at letting people know that they do not have to do anything you say or accept anything you offer—your life will change dramatically.

The Key:

The more you can let your client know that you are okay if she says no, the more open she will be to what you are offering. Letting her know that she does not have to say yes takes pressure off of her and allows her to look at what is being offered in a rational way. If you apply pressure to your clients, they will be more likely to reject what is being offered and may miss out on hearing something that could be very important to their well-being. Additionally, knowing that your clients have the right to say no takes the pressure off of you as a salesperson. You can relax and do a great job at serving the client rather than trying to reach your agenda. Both you and the client will be better served when you take all pressure to perform off the table. It will allow both of you to be more cordial and rational in your approach. Remember that nobody has to do anything you say.

Learn to say 'no' to the good so you can say 'yes' to the best.

John C. Maxwell

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